I’m an overly-organized Type A+ person who lives and dies by calendars and to-do lists. I love planners, and I have strong feelings about them. Here’s the thing: my calendar is unabashedly digital. That won’t change. My to do lists are both; my Reminders app currently has 10 different lists (more on that system later) but for daily work tasks, I like handwritten. (And, um, color-coded but that seems obvious?)
So for me a paper planner is a big picture calendar where I might scribble tentative plans or even concrete plans, but more than being my “what the hell am I supposed to be doing right now?” system, it’s a combo journal, planning, note taking, task-tracking, brainstorming, gratitude, meal planner and more. (Okay yes I also meal plan in Evernote and on the digital calendar shared with my husband.)
Currently I’m on my second Plum Paper Planner, which is entirely customizable. They offer three sizes and 14 different layouts (plus additional teacher layouts). You can also choose from numerous add-ons — meal planning, budgeting, fitness trackers and way more.
Last year I did a full year (plus a few months so I didn’t have to wait until January to start) of the 7×9 Full Week Grid, with sections for run plan, run notes, cross training, work, home, meals and gratitude. I liked it, but the sections were a little small, so I opted for something different this time.
Now I have a 7×9 Daily, which has sections for gratitude, schedule, to-dos, running, and two blank sections for whatever strikes me. I also added a reflection section and a habit tracker for each month.
I went with Plum Paper after, um, way too much time thinking about what I wanted in a planner. I downloaded a few that offered PDFs so I could test drive them. I actually designed my own in InDesign at one point. (I did say Type A+, right?) In my Evernote there’s a note I created 10/31/17 where I started putting links to different planners along with notes about what I wanted and liked/didn’t like in ones I found. It was a YEAR LATER (11/7/18) that I actually ordered a planner from Plum Paper.
That’s not because I needed to wait until January, by the way — Plum Paper will let you start any month! Most options are 12 months long, but you can also add months if you want to make it longer (say, 13 months if you ordered in November but wanted to start using in December!).
Okay, Tracy. We get it. What else is out there? Here’s a few of my other top contenders:
- Morning Sidekick Journal
- The Happiness Planner (also has a companion app)
- Five Minute Journal
- Eric Condren
- Self Planner
- Passion Planner
- Ennegram Planners